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The Lands of the Bible

the Orontes. In 1 Kings 8: 65, a festival in the time of Solomon involving ‘all
Israel’ is said to have involved people ‘from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of
Egypt’. The biblical narrative also suggests that some Israelite tribes occupied
territory in Transjordan. Deuteronomy 3: 8 mentions the territory from
Mount Hermon in the north to the River Arnon in Moab. There are also suggestions
that there were times when Israelite control included the whole of
Moab and Edom (cf. 2 Sam. 8). The account of the reign of Solomon envisages
the territory under his control as reaching as far south as Ezion-geber on
the Gulf of Aqaba and thus including an important commercial outlet (1 Kgs.
9: 26); this territory would also have included the rich copper deposits of the
Arabah. Even much later, the designation ‘from Dan to Beer-sheba’ conveys
a reasonably accurate designation of the Kingdom of Herod, which stretched
from the vicinity of Beer-sheba in the south and encompassed Judea,
Samaria, and Galilee, reaching almost as far north as Paneas close to the site
of Dan, and included land in Transjordan. The same is true of the time envisaged
in the Gospels, when the Roman province of Judea and the tetrarchies
of Herod Antipas and of Philip stretched from Beer-sheba to Paneas,
renamed Caesarea Philippi.

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